Not really. I've noticed that this article is being picked up here and there on the web to support people's conclusion that they should fork out the extra money for grass fed beef and that this will significantly impact their health. They are letting some small differences get the better of them!
Look, the info in this article is sound. But it's not "significant". Funnily enough most people are missing the conclusions of the author's themselves. This has a lot to do with misunderstandings about science and scientific enquiries. People think that all reviews such as this one are done by the authors to "prove" one central point. Well this is a review. A review is about going over the data and see where we stand, what we know, what we don't know, and where we need to go. Many times authors will make various conclusions but it it not always the intention to say "therefore you should do this or that".
I received this from Jamie Hale:
From Understanding Different Kinds of Beef in Marketplace, 2008 Research and Knowledge Management:
“Research shows grass-finished beef has higher levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (Duckett et al., 1993; Smith et al., 1996; French et al., 2000; Grześkiewicz et al., 2001; Poulson et al., 2004; Engle and Spears, 2004; Noci et al., 2005; Daley et al., 2005). Therefore, marketing claims that those nutrients are present in higher concentrations in grass-finished than in conventional beef are correct. However, claims that grass-finished beef is “healthier” as a result are not true, because the differences are not significant for human health.
For instance, to achieve Recommended Daily Allowances and/or daily chemoprotective dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids a person would have to eat at least 12 pounds of grass-fed beef (Rule et al., 2002; Martz et al., 2004; Guiffrida de Mendoza et al., 2005; Daley et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2005). While grassfinished beef has approximately 1/100 of a gram more omega-3 than grain-finished beef, salmon has 35 times as much omega-3 as grass-finished beef. "
Now there is one problem with the the conclusions there. That is there are no "recommended daily allowances" for Omega-3 fatty acids. At least not OFFICIAL RDA's. However you can get various estimates of good levels "in general". The point stands nicely when you simply compare the levels in grass-finished beef and fish or fish oil.
Another thing is that "grass-finished" is an important part of this. Even grain fed beef is just "grain-finished beef. People mistakenly assume that grass-fed cattle are fed grass all their lives and that grain-fed cattle are fed grain all their lives. This is absolutely not the way it works. MOST beef cattle starts out in pasture then is sold to a producer who usually puts em into feed lots to finish them and they are given a mixture of grains and soy to grow fast and get fatter. The primary difference is that "grass-fed" is finished on grass. People have this misconception that grain-fed cattle spend their whole live in a small feed lot gorging on grains. The whole idea is preposterous because such a scenario would be extremely uneconomic.
From the authors of the review"
Grain-fed beef consumers may achieve similar intakes of both n-3 and CLA through consumption of higher fat portions with higher overall palatability scores. A number of clinical studies have shown that today's lean beef, regardless of feeding strategy, can be used interchangeably with fish or skinless chicken to reduce serum cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic patients.
The nutritional difference between "grass fed" and "grain fed" beef, in a well varied health diet is probably not practically significant. This is very important for people to understand. Just because the differences found are "statistically significant" that does NOT MEAN THEY ARE PRACTICALLY SIGNIFICANT. If you want to role the dice then the "chances" that eating grass fed beef will make a significant difference in your overall health and longevity are very very slim.